Despite a common misconception, that smoking may be beneficial for stress, new research has shown that quitting smoking can significantly improve mental health conditions, more than previously known.
For the study, researchers examined the association between smoking cessation and its subsequent impact on mental health.
As part of the Cochrane Library journal, the new study involved a thorough search of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group’s Specialised Register, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Embase, among other places, researchers identified 102 relevant studies and more than 150,000 participants.
“Sixty‐two of these were identified in the updated search for this review and 40 were included in the original version of the review. Sixty‐three studies provided data on change in mental health, 10 were included in meta‐analyses of incidence of mental health disorders, and 31 were synthesised narratively,” the authors wrote in their journal article.
The primary end result was an improvement of mental health conditions following smoking cessation, researchers determined.
“These data provide evidence that mental health does not worsen as a result of quitting smoking, and very low‐ to moderate‐certainty evidence that smoking cessation is associated with small to moderate improvements in mental health,” according to researchers.
“These improvements are seen in both unselected samples and in subpopulations, including people diagnosed with mental health conditions. Additional studies that use more advanced methods to overcome time‐varying confounding would strengthen the evidence in this area.”